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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article21 March 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)3 min read

European Humanitarian Forum: Commission and Swedish Presidency set the goals for EU's humanitarian action

View of the main auditorium
© European Union, 2023

The second edition of the European Humanitarian Forum put forward innovative solutions to address the global challenges of the humanitarian sector, with a key focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of aid, the increasing gap between needs and available resources, the impact of climate change, and the shrinking humanitarian space.

At the Forum, EU Member States together with the European Commission announced the planned humanitarian funding of 8.4 billion for 2023, as a concrete expression of global solidarity and of the EU’s leading role in humanitarian action.

The EU and its Member States, international, national and local organisations and partners, countries affected by humanitarian crises and donors, looked at ways of further enhancing the impact of humanitarian response. The forum dealt with the following key topics:

  • The increasing gap between humanitarian needs and resources: Participants appreciated the commitment by the EU and its Member States to work towards securing additional humanitarian funding and to ensure a more sustainable and balanced sharing of financing within the EU. The Forum identified the expansion of the donor base as a priority – with a focus on “non–traditional” donors (international financing institutions, private sector, emerging donors).
  • Ensuring effectiveness and efficiency of the humanitarian response: The Forum highlighted the importance of ensuring effectiveness and efficiency in aid delivery, including through better prioritisation with limited resources, increasing the share of multiannual and flexible funding, and enhancing the participation of local and national actors and women-led organisations. To this end, the European Commission launched its own guidance on localisation on how to achieve equitable partnerships between international and local responders.
  • Anticipating and responding to climate related crises. The Forum discussed ways to mitigate climate-driven disasters, the importance of anticipatory action and of combining approaches to tackle root drivers of crisis while addressing immediate needs and strengthen resilience, and highlighted that climate change and environmental degradation are top drivers of humanitarian needs. The European Commission committed to scaling up anticipatory action and will continue convening the signatories of the Donor Declaration on Climate and Environment twice a year.
  • Enabling safe and efficient humanitarian action in conflict areas: Participants stressed the need for a more systematic approach to intensifying humanitarian diplomacy and investing in capacities for humanitarian negotiations and community-based initiatives to improve respect for international humanitarian law by armed actors; secure and sustain access to people in need; and unblock administrative obstacles to effective and principled humanitarian action.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, stated: “Humanitarian needs are at a historic high and are continuously increasing, worsened by the effects of climate change, and the ongoing armed conflicts. In the face of the record number of people in need, and a persistently narrow donor base, the need to expand the resource base for humanitarian action (both inside and outside the EU) is more acute than ever. Last year, only 55 % of funding needs were met. The second edition of the European Humanitarian Forum, attended by more than 2000 participants, contributed to finding common solutions for the global challenges the humanitarian system is facing”.

Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell, said: “The European Humanitarian Forum takes place in a time of skyrocketing humanitarian needs across the globe. Russia’s illegal and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine has exacerbated the situation. Never has the humanitarian outlook been more dire. More countries need to step up and assume their responsibility for meeting life-saving needs. The European Humanitarian Forum is a manifestation of the EU’s global solidarity and it has re-affirmed the EU’s leading role in humanitarian action.”


The European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union co-hosted the second edition of the European Humanitarian Forum on 20-21 March 2023, in Brussels.

The event took place in synergy with the International Donors’ Conference “Together for the people in Türkiye and Syria”. This year’s Forum gathered over 2,000 participants from EU Member States, international organisations, humanitarian partners, third countries and other stakeholders and provided an opportunity to further strengthen the cooperation and partnership among participants.

High-level discussions, political debates and practical workshops allowed to put forward innovative approaches to address the most pressing humanitarian challenges of our time and find common solutions.